Friday, March 5, 2010

Everything is Fine Except the Things that Don't Matter

It is Friday and that is good. It is also one week until my birthday and getting older is not something I need reminding of! A few quick thoughts for tonight as I think I summed up my macro position very clearly last post and do not have much more to add. An extended entertainment section is always a plus!

The Greece Crisis is Over, Just Like in Iceland
Plenty of victory laps being run this week after Greece was able to sell 5 Billion in bonds to the Euro central banks, I mean random investors looking for value. This means the Greek crisis is now over, and riots at the Parliament are just for show. Of course a similar all clear was sounded a while back about Iceland and I have to admit I had looked over the island nation for a while. Amazingly the "icesave" program is still in limbo:
Iceland PM appeals for voters to shun bank referendum
REYKJAVIK (AFP) – Iceland's premier Friday called for a new debt repayment deal with London and The Hague for a collapsed bank, while urging voters to shun a "meaningless" referendum on the controversy.
"It's a matter of life and death for the Icelandic economy. We need an Icesave solution as soon as possible," Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said at a press conference, ahead of Saturday's plebiscite on the banking deal.
Life or death? I thought this was all taken care of? No worries, at least Greece is over now.

Right on Cue to Make me Look Smart
Hot on the heels of my "Compressing the Risk Pyramid" post which laid out the enormous risks the US government now sports on it's balance sheet congress foll Barney Frank tried to say otherwise and this resulted in a lightspeed clarification by the Treasury department on just what total endless commitment means:
Treasury Restates Support For Fannie, Freddie After Barney Frank's 'No Guarantee' Comments Panic Investors
I would wonder what totally stupid investor was scared that the guarantee was not really in effect? Anyone have a guess?

Everything is Fine Except the Things that Don't Matter
Two lists of where things are.

Things that Matter:
-Rate of change for (insert blank)
-Easy money promises
-Bailout news
-Beating expectations set far too low for (insert blank)
-Excuses based on snow in the winter

Things that don't matter:
-Moral hazard
-Riots and protests
-Home prices double dipping
-The actual numbers behind things and not just rate of change for (insert blank)
-Bad news
-Terrible news

Another Mortgage Holder Gives Up
Just so we now things are hard all over, actress Scarlett Johansson will be selling one of her homes for about a 2.5 million dollar loss. I imagine she will find a way to go on. In case you do not know who Mrs. Disconnect, I mean Mrs. Johansson is, here is a totally random picture from Google to give you an idea:


Friday Night Entertainment
Some various things to have fun with!

Book Passage
"First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren't rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn't begun yet. July, well, July's really fine: there's no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June's best of all, for school doors spring wide and September's a billion year's away."
Prologue for "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury

Funny Pictures
Want a cool Ice-T to drink, just hit the button:
epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

Kitten vs. Puppy
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Evil looking!

Optical Illusions
From Wikipedia today:
Figure-ground (perception)
Classic example (faces or a vase?):

Two I had not considered:
-The "arrow" on the FEDEX logo:

-Can you see the two faces arguing on the Canadian flag? (eyes added to make easier):

Very wild!

Rock Blogging
Time for the music to set you free, for the weekend anyway!

A song that always gave me chills is Counting Crows and "Round Here":

Very nice.

By request, a U2 song that I had never heard before and it is a good one! Check out "Out of Control":

Another request? Another song I had never heard before (it's an all new night for me!) is Sammy Hagar and "I've Done Everything for You":

Good pick!

Let's do a live performance with Depeche Mode and "Wrong":

Rock Out!

Last call! What to pick, what to pick...?

Maybe one of two Led Zeppelin songs I do like is "No Quarter", so let it roll:

Very good indeed.

Could not find the opening scene but enjoy some clips from an all time great film:
Streets of Fire

Have a good night.


GawainsGhost said...

I'm surprised you never heard "I've Don Everything for You" before, GYC. Sammy Hagar did his best work in his early years with Montrose (when he was only a teenager!) and in his early solo career. Then he joined Van Halen and, well, went downhill.

I actually saw Hagar in San Antonio in 1978, on the Red Rocker tour. He opened for Boston on their second album tour. It was amazing, really. I've never seen the opening act blow away the headliner like he did that night. I'm talking about high energy, tight, in your face rock and roll. He was excellent, one of the best performances I've ever seen.

There's even an album on that concert, All Night Long. Unfortunately, it's not available on CD. But some guy posted all the tracks on YouTube. Well worth a listen. It's one of the best live albums ever recorded, seriously.

Sammy Hagar lit up the stage. Then Boston came out and were real mellow. It was a total let down. I mean, everyone knew Boston and were there to see them. No one knew Sammy Hagar. But when he finished his set, man, I'm telling you there was not a single person in that audience who was not impressed. I certainly was.

Look it up on YouTube and give it a listen, and you'll see what I mean. I would be the red album cover with black words, Sammy Hagar: All Night Long. That's rock and roll, my friend. That is rock and roll.

watchtower said...

Scarlett Johansson > Yowza!

watchtower said...

I didn't realize Sammy Hagar wrote that song, I had always associated it with Rick Springfield.

getyourselfconnected said...

I once lost a $300 bet with my wife because I thought "Dont fear the reaper" was a grateful dead song. I am musically challenged except in areas I know! Great song, thanks for the request!

please do not oogle Mrs. Disconnect in that way! How rude!

GawainsGhost said...

GYC, I saw Blue Oyster Cult perform that song when they opened for Black Sabbath on the Heaven and Hell tour. Both were excellent. Yet another in the long list of great concerts I've seen.

WT, Rick Springfield was a cover artist. He looked good on camera and could play, and he knew how to pick a good song. But I doubt he ever did anything original in his life.

Look up Sammy Hagar, All Night Long on YouTube. You won't be disappointed. It's everything rock and roll was meant to be.

Oh, and GYC, how could you possibly think that "Don't Fear the Reaper" was a Grateful Dead song? Obviously, you don't know the Dead.

Dave in Denver said...

Whoa! I have thought about U2 Boy for a LONG time. Reminds me of college. Real old time U2 fans think Boy was U2's best album.

getyourselfconnected said...

I know, I am lost on music history. I have seen live Iron Maiden(2), Black Sabbath(1), Ozzy(8), Rage Against the Machine(1), Garth Brooks(1), No Doubt(1), and Depeche Modde(1) so yes I may be a little off!

That U2 song rocked, loved it.

TomOfTheNorth said...

Hi Connected,

Nice line-up! Lots of memories being triggered. BTW, had a problem scrolling down yer page. Seems to, er, stick on

So I've got a little beta project I've started - a new blog to complement OTCB.It's called The Looming Doom and it's similar in style to OTCB but more, um, Doomy in content:

2 short posts up for your perusal....

New OTCB out tomorrow - it's dumb but a topic I like to rant on....

The Zep just finished. THAT WAS SWEET!

GawainsGhost said...

Hmmm. Concerts I have seen (not inclusive, but the biggest names):

Kiss (15 times).
Black Sabbath (5 times).
Grateful Dead (2 times).
Psychedelic Furs.
Talking Heads.
Gang of Four.
U2 (on their first US tour).
Rolling Stones.
ZZ Top.
Stevie Ray Vaughn.
David Gilmore.
Jerry Lee Lewis.
Van Morrison.
Judas Priest (at the Oz Fest).

There were many others, but I never got to see the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, the Eagles, Steely Dan, or Pink Floyd. I did get to see the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the B-52s though.

watchtower said...

GYSC said:

please do not oogle Mrs. Disconnect in that way! How rude!"

Sorry GYSC I couldn't help myself, you are indeed a lucky man.

Early U2 is golden, the stuff that they have releaed recently, not so much IMO.


Was the Psychedelic Furs good in concert? (One of my favorite groups)

GawainsGhost said...

Oh, the Psychedelic Furs were excellent, but it was a small venue. This was back in the early 80s when I was living in Austin. A lot of bands came through, but because they were relatively unknown at the time they played in a small arena that held maybe 3000.

That was the case with the Furs, U2, Gang of Four, bands like that. I did see Al Dimiola on his Electric Rendezvous tour in the same venue. Now that man can play some serious guitar.

Guys like Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, the B-52s, the Fabulous Thunderbirds played the club circuit. You could see those guys every week. In fact, my friend used to live next door to the bass player for the B-52s and we'd eat barbeque with the band on Sundays, then go see them at the Back Room.

I don't know how many time I saw Stevie Ray play, probably a couple of dozen. I met him on his birthday in 1983. Great guitar player. When he came back to Austin after recording with David Bowie, he had a triumphant return concert at the convention center. Over 10,000 attended that show, and he put on one hell of a performance.

When the Dead came, they played an outdoor concert at the Manor Downs race track. It was on their all acoustic tour. That was great, lying on the grass, listening to the Dead. They had their own custom built sound system, you know, and it was the best. I've never heard clearer sound from any other band.

If I had to rank them, I'd go

1. Elvis. That man could sing.
2. Black Sabbath, Never Say Die tour. Best set I've ever seen.
3. Kiss, Love Gun tour. Wow.
4. The Rolling Stones, Steel Wheels tour. 95,000 at the Cotton Bowl, and everyone sang along.
5. The Grateful Dead.

That would be my top 5.

two to tango said...

Here's a pretty funny watch. They force you to watch a commercial first. It's worth it.

getyourselfconnected said...

I will check the new site, and yes the scroll gets stuck a bit on Scarlett!

That is some list! You are a lucky man.
-Bears land Peppers, what a collossal waste of talent.

never heard of the furs band, will check them out later today.

Its 50 degrees and sunny here today so I am going outside for a bit, check in later.

GawainsGhost said...

The Furs best album was Talk Talk Talk, which included their hit "Pretty In Pink." That was the tour I saw them on.

The Gang of Four was an obscure punk band. They only released on LP, Entertainment, and later an EP. But they're well worth checking out, especially Entertainment, which really is a very good album. Very political, but it emphasizes economics. "People in positions of power make decisions based on their own interests." Profound. "Repackage sex / Keep your interest." Brilliant.

I just found out that All Night Long was re-released in Britain as Loud and Clear, and is available on CD. I ordered one. It's the only concert I attended that was recorded live as an album, so it's a must have.

watchtower said...

Check out the Fur's 'Ghost In You' (I'd provide a link but once again I'm out of town at a hotel whose computer won't let me copy and paste).

You may not like it (kinda new wave), but that song always reminds me of my wife.

getyourselfconnected said...

you are at hotels a lot, anything you want to share? LOL

GawainsGhost said...

To comment further on the Top 5 concerts I've seen, the first three were actually the first concerts I attended, but in a somewhat inverted order.

Elvis, 1972. I was 11. My mother, who to this day remains a huge Elvis fan, took her kids to see the King perform in San Antonio. This was at the Hemisphere Arena, which was an excellent venue because it had really good acoustics. It was also when Elvis was at his peak. In fact, the movie that came out later that year, Elvis On Tour, contains a song filmed at this concert. It's the one where he's wearing the light blue jumpsuit and cape.

I was too young to really appreciate what I witnessed, but it left an indelible mark on me. I've seen hundreds of bands and dozens of concerts, but I have never seen a man who could control an audience like Elvis. It was stunning, the way he moved on stage and worked the crowd. Without question, the absolute best performance I've seen.

Kiss, 1976. This was at the Joe Freeman Colosseum in San Antonio, an open-air venue. It had to be, because of the pyrotechnics involved. The inside cover of Alive II, which was released the next day, shows what I'm talking about. Pillars of fire, explosions, levitating platforms, confetti wheels, it was amazing. This was the opening show of the Love Gun World Tour, and Kiss were on that night. San Antonio has long been the heavy metal capital of the world, and was one of the earliest supporters of Kiss, which is why they opened their tour there. This was a concert for the ages, loud and proud, intense high-energy rock and roll.

After that, I thought, well, I've seen the best of the best, Elvis and Kiss. No one could possibly top them. But I was wrong. (Continued.)

GawainsGhost said...

Black Sabbath, 1978. This was the concert. Every heavy metal freak in Texas was at this show. It was at the Hemisphere Arena, and it set the attendance record. There were probably 20,000 people crammed into a 15,000-seat stadium. They not only sold out every seat, they sold out the aisles! It was standing room only, and there was no standing room left.

This was because, as mentioned, San Antonio was the heavy metal capital of the world, and Black Sabbath were the gods of metal. We all knew this was probably the last time they'd tour, so this was our last chance to see them. (Which was true, since the band broke up after this tour and didn't rejoin until some 15-odd years later.)

Van Halen opened. Now, at the time, the knock was that Van Halen was out-performing Black Sabbath. This was in all the magazines and concert reviews. So it was like a battle of the bands in the most discriminating market for heavy metal.

Van Halen came out and put on the worst performance I've ever seen. I mean, really, in all honesty. I've seen garage bands perform better. Maybe they just had an off night, I don't know--it was the only time I've ever seen them--but they were pathetic. David Lee Roth, he must have been luded out, kept singing the wrong words, so they had to stop and start the songs over. Pitiful. He was jumping around, tripped over the microphone stand, slid across the stage and slammed his head into the amplifier. It was embarrassing, and we booed them off the stage. They didn't even finish their set.

Then Black Sabbath came out, and the entire crowd went crazy. But about 20 minutes into their set, Iommi's amp blew out and they had to stop.

You have to imagine the scene. This was the heavy metal capital of the world, in front of the most discriminating audience, sold-out. Van Halen, for all the hype surrounding them, had embarrassed themselves. But now Black Sabbath couldn't perform!

So Ozzy stood up and screamed in to the mic, "Disco Sucks!" (This was the first time anyone ever said that, and within weeks it was on t-shirts everywhere.) Then Bill Ward started a drum solo, an incredible drum solo, that lasted for 45 minutes. He was joined by Geezer Butler, and they performed a bass-drum jazz improvisation to keep the crowd entertained while the amp was fixed.

When Black Sabbath were able to continue, they had something to prove. They were the gods of metal, and this was the heavy metal capital, the largest, most discriminating audience in the world. It was do or die.

And they did. They basicly started over and destroyed the audience. Heavy, hard, rough, and mean. They played all of their best songs, and played them to perfection. They had something to prove, and they proved it.

Two hours later, no one left that stadium doubting that Black Sabbath were gods. It was the single best set by a band ever.

GawainsGhost said...

The only reason why I rank Elvis over Black Sabbath is because, well, he was Elvis, the King. An extraordinary performer.

Kiss were the best. No one could put on a rock and roll show, a spectacle, like them. But as far as musicianship goes, Black Sabbath blew them away. And they didn't need pyrotechnics to do it.

The Rolling Stones, that was like a religious experience for me. You don't draw a crowd of 95,000 without being the Greatest Rock and Roll Band on earth. They were unbelievable, but as far as the experience goes, I'd still rank Elvis, Black Sabbath, and Kiss above them.

But the Grateful Dead, there is a reason why they're one of the most successful and profitable bands in history. They could play, really play. And their sound system was par excellence. But a little too laid-back for my ranking system.

getyourselfconnected said...

thanks for the detailed stories. You indeed have been at the right places at the right times in music history. Unreal.

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